However, the 2013 campaign has presented the Raiders with challenges to make a return to the postseason. They lost a season opener for the first time since 2005 in a 27-13 defeat to North Paulding on Aug. 30. However, East Paulding rebounded with five consecutive wins, including shutouts over Woodland (30-0) and Villa Rica (31-0). The winning streak pushed the Raiders to the top of Region 5-AAAAA, one of the most competitive in the entire state.
Consecutive losses to Rome and South Paulding, each by seven points, have placed the Raiders in a tie for fourth place in the region, which is the last position in the standings to participate in the playoffs.
“The kids are disappointed with the losses but we still have two games left and a chance for the postseason,” head coach Chuck Goddard said.
Defensively, East Paulding has been stout all season, allowing only 15 points per contest, the second-best mark in the region. The Raiders have allowed 20 or more points in only three contests this season. The latest occurrence happened last week when South Paulding scored 14 fourth-quarter points to gain a 24-17 victory.
The Raiders’ offense has had several bright points this year, scoring over 30 points on three occasions, including a season-high 31 points in a win over Hiram on Oct. 11. Senior quarterback Mitchell Webb has been the leader of the offensive unit for the majority of this season.
East Paulding’s home finale will be on Nov. 1 against winless Lithia Springs before traveling to Allatoona on Nov. 8 with the Raiders most likely needing a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive. “We’ve had chances to win but didn’t execute well,” Goddard said. “We’ll continue to work on basics and getting better every day.”